Gov. Roy Cooper has declared Aug. 31 to be Overdose Awareness Day in North Carolina in conjunction with International Awareness Day. The goal is to honor and remember loved ones lost and recognize community partners working to provide help.

Annie Vasquez with Forsyth Regional Opioid and Substance Use Team (FROST) says the issue cuts across age, income and zip code.

"You talk to almost anybody in our county and they either know someone, they love someone, or they're related to someone who has been affected by the opioid overdose crisis," she says. "And that's just incredibly sad."

In 2021, 4,041 North Carolinians lost their lives to an overdose. According to a news release, this is the highest number of overdose deaths in a single year on record in the state.

Vasquez says the stigma around substance abuse needs to be addressed in order to better combat it. She says it's also important to remember those who are still suffering in addition to those lives lost.

Resources including Narcan, which helps treat overdoses are available through FROST or the Forsyth County Health Department's pharmacy.

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